Table of Contents

What is an Acute Disease

A few diseases occur suddenly and last for a few days. These are known as acute diseases, such as the common cold. This condition can be treated with medical treatment or on its own. Many times, acute diseases turn chronic if they continue to persist.

Acute diseases can occur throughout all body systems. E.g., an asthma attack is acute which later turns chronic. Strep throat, broken bones, appendicitis, influenza, pneumonia, etc. are some of the acute diseases.

What is a Chronic Disease

The diseases that occur over a period of time and last longer, or even for a lifetime are called chronic diseases. Generally, if a disease lasts for more than three years it is called chronic disease. Initially, the symptoms are very mild. A chronic disease progresses slowly and damages the body severely. It might sometimes be fatal.

The risk factors involved in such diseases may be age, gender and unhealthy lifestyle, etc. A chronic disease may or may not be cured by medications. It cannot be prevented by vaccines as well. Hypertension, arthritis, diabetes mellitus, and psoriasis are some of the chronic diseases.

However, chronic disease can be controlled by:

  • Physical activity

  • Healthy diet

  • Giving up on smoking

  • Controlling alcohol consumption

A chronic illness is very stressful. The stress obstructs and delays your recovery.

Difference between Acute and Chronic Diseases

Acute Diseases Chronic Diseases
These diseases occur suddenly. They occur over a prolonged period.
They last for a shorter period. They last longer, even for a lifetime.
They cause sudden damage to the body. They cause long term damage to the body of the patient.
The onset is sudden and often treatable. However, other underlying conditions can also affect the outcome of the disease. Chronic diseases progress gradually and usually end up causing long term damage to organs and organ systems. In some cases, it can become fatal.
E.g. Typhoid, bone fracture, heart attack, cholera, common cold, jaundice, malaria, etc. Eg. Diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis, arthritis, etc.

Key points on Acute and Chronic Diseases

  • Acute diseases refer to a medical condition that occurs suddenly and lasts for a shorter period of time.

  • Chronic diseases develop slowly and last for a lifetime.

  • Chronic diseases are sometimes fatal.

  • Acute diseases, if it persists for a long time, can be fatal, otherwise can be treated with certain medications.

  • Common cold, typhoid, jaundice, cholera, and burns, are some of the acute diseases.

  • Chronic diseases include diabetes, cancer, tuberculosis, arthritis, etc.

Hence, we can conclude that chronic diseases are more dangerous than acute diseases and need proper care, attention and research because they affect the patient mentally as well as physically.

We have discussed acute and chronic diseases in detail and the difference between acute and chronic diseases. The health issue, causes, symptoms and treatments are all discussed here.

For more information on Acute and Chronic Diseases, keep visiting BYJU’S website or download the BYJU’S app for further reference.

Frequently Asked Questions


Define Acute Diseases.

A disease which occurs suddenly and lasts only for a short amount of time is defined as an acute disease.

Define Chronic Diseases.

A disease which develops gradually and remains for a long period of time is defined as a chronic disease.

Related Links

Human Diseases
Infectious diseases


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